Only a small part of health care happens at the doctor’s office. Social factors such as access to nutritious food and safe housing play a large role in a person’s ability to maintain their health. The health of our environment, including sanitation, clean water, and air quality, also has a significant impact on our health and well-being.
There is a clear link between our physical and emotional well-being and the health of the environment. It is also clear that environmental issues have a disproportionate impact on minority and underserved communities.
“We know that environment and health outcomes are linked,” said Kimberley Goode, senior vice president of External Affairs at Blue Shield of California. That’s why — just as they’re taking a more inclusive view of health — health insurance providers are looking broadly at their environmental footprint and opportunities to mitigate their impact.
- Aflac U.S. reduced their electricity consumption by 21% in 2020, and reduced the overall emissions and environmental impact at their facilities by making investments in solar energy and recycling more than 2 million pounds of waste.
- Anthem is investing in solar energy to meet their goal of using 100% renewable energy sources to power their offices by 2025.
- Blue Shield of California announced that they reached carbon neutrality as a part of their larger environmental sustainability commitment to improve the health of communities in the state of California.
- An initiative at Independence Blue Cross brought 30,000 honeybees to the company’s urban rooftop to positively impact the local ecosystem.
- By 2030, Cigna is targeting 100% renewable electricity and zero waste for some of their facilities. The company is also aiming to be carbon neutral in certain sectors by 2040.
- Under the “Healthy Planet” pillar of CVS Health’s Transform Health 2030 goals, the company announced a goal to reduce their overall environmental impact by at least 50% by 2030.
- In 2020, Humana reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 18%, and diverted 66% of their waste from landfills through waste reduction and recycling programs.
- Kaiser Permanente reached carbon-neutral status in 2020, and is working with community groups and other partners to strengthen local food systems, reduce pollution, and improve transportation.
- State Farm has committed to reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% before 2030. Their approach includes reducing waste, energy-efficient facilities, and switching to paperless billing.
Healthy people don’t just need healthy environments. They deserve them. It’s why health insurance providers’ attention to social and environmental issues won’t end when Earth Day does. Learn more about their efforts here.